|Hugel and Fils Wines|
Hugel and Fils Wines at Lai Po Heen, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
It’s always a delight to dine at Mandarin Oriental’s Chinese restaurant, Lai Po Heen, but pair it with some fine French wine and the experience is elevated to scrumptiously pleasing levels.
Twelfth generation owner of Hugel and Fils wines, Mr. Etienne Hugel, recently partnered up with master chef Ricky Thien to match elegant Chinese creations with wines from the French vineyard. The results were, needles to say, both educational (coupling wine and Asian food is relatively new to Malaysia) and delicious (seriously, can you go wrong with great food and superb wine?) Here are the pairings:
Chinese pre-dinner delights of: Aromatic Spiced Marinated Beef Shank; Oven-Baked Scallop filled with Prawn Paste and Coconut Sauce; and Chilled Marinated Sliced Shell Meat Szechuan Style; paired with the introductory wine, Hugel Gentil 2012. This was a great chance to try different ingredients with one wine to see how they played out on the palate. The white wine is a blend of a number of varietals with young fresh flowers and fruit on the nose and a crisp dryness in the mouth. I enjoyed it most with the seafood bites, but the aromatics of the beef brought out a hint of spice in the wine too.
|Pre-Dinner Delights with Hugel Gentil 2012|
Juicy mouthfuls of Chilled Crab Meat Rolls with a mango and passion fruit mayonnaise were accompanied by the Hugel Gewurztraminer 2012. This wine is a must try as Alsace specializes in this particular grape. It’s a lively translucent green in the glass with a tropical fruity aroma. It’s fresh and, engaged in a friendly game with the crab flesh. Something spicy or smoked might also be worth a pairing.
|Chilled Crab Meat Rolls|
|Hugel Gewurztraminer 2012|
Double-boiled Fish Maw Soup made with “Evian” natural mineral water ensured a pure and clean broth and, the double boiling an intense flavour. Riesling Jubilee “Hugel” 2007 tickled the nostrils with lime and minerals. It’s a well-balanced white and filled the mouth, proving an equal partner for the strength of the soup.
|Double-boiled Fish Maw Soup|
Pinot Gris “Hugel” Tradition 2011 was the mate for the Slow-Cooked Three Head Abalone in golden broth. A velvety smooth soup provided a glowing pond for the giant abalone which was perfectly cooked, proving an even texture all the way through. A delicate crispness in the wine finely sliced through the elegant creaminess of the soup. This white took my fancy with honey and stone fruit first tempting the nose, and then a succulent full-body with a lengthy finish satisfying the palate.
|Slow-Cooked Three Head Abalone|
Black Angus Beef Short Rib, “Dong Po” BBQ Style with Pak Choy and Lotus Root brought with it a change in beverage colour in the Pinot Noir Jubilee “Hugel” 2008. The meat was tender within and, the edges caramelized and sweet. The wine showed itself as a collaborative colleague to the meat. A perfume of juicy berries was supported by a balanced structure in the mouth firing up a touch of pepperiness in the finish.
|Black Angus Beef Short Rib|
|Pinot Noir Jubilee “Hugel” 2008|
Fragrant Black Sesame Fried Rice with Foie Gras and Asparagus sprinkled with Fish Roe continued well with the last drops of the pinot noir. Long grain rice buttressed a mouthful of flavours and textures. Roe exploded in tiny bursts changing the texture and, fatty liver added a buttery smoothness to the combination. The richness was cleaned by the pinot noir highlighting a different character to the wine. The spicy finish previously detected in the sweet beef pairing was covered by the oleaginous properties of this dish. Versatility. It’s a sought after trait in a wine.
|Fragrant Black Sesame Fried Rice with Foie Gras and Asparagus|
Finally what I had been waiting for all evening arrived. The Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive “Hugel” 2006 is the vineyard’s dessert wine. One of my all time favourites from Australia is De Bortoli’s Noble One Late Harvest Botrytis Semillon. Previously hearing that Hugel and Fil’s sweet wine was of a similar character, I had been dreaming indulgently all week of getting my lips on this one. It’s viscous, cloying and ambrosial.
|Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive “Hugel” 2006, Pan Fried Mango Dumpling and Lemongrass Jelly with Mango Sauce|
My usual pairing for this style of wine is a contrasting duo of lightly toasted walnuts and blue cheese. Chef’s dish though mirrors the wine’s dominant flavours in Pan Fried Mango Dumpling and Lemongrass Jelly with Mango Sauce. Culinary justice was served and this nectarous liquid ended the meal with high spirits.
Reason to imbibe: Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive “Hugel” 2006; Pinot Gris “Hugel” Tradition 2011
Lai Po Heen
Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
50088 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2380 8888